Parenting: One of THOSE Days
Crisis - noun, plural crises
- a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.
- a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
- a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life.
- my house, last night.
Let me first say that everything is okay. No worries. No one died. I'm exaggerating. Go back to your coffee (but skip the danish because bathing suit season is around the corner. Or don't. No judgments.).
I should have known, as a parent, that the live wasp in the basement was a portentous sign. When my 10-year-old daughter bent her face close to the insect on the carpet and said, "Nope, it's alive," I should have known it was going to be one of those days. Parents, you know the kind of day to which I refer. One of those days when it's gorgeous outside, but nothing goes the way it should.
I should have waited for the other shoe to drop because that wasp, that trickster wasp, did not sting my daughter or me or my son. And I should have known that just throwing a plastic cup over it and weighing it down with a block of wood until my husband arrived was not really a solution.
This isn't about the wasp. That's just a symbol.
Two weeks ago, I made good on the birthday promise - made in February - that my daughter could get her ears pierced. Finally! This was no minor accomplishment. We had talked my husband down from age 18 to 14 to 12 and finally to 10. Then we waited two months until performances and camping trips were over, for the end of soccer season, for the perfect time to do the deed.
Two weeks ago, I made good on the birthday
promise - made in February - that my
daughter could get her ears pierced. Finally!
After much discussion with other parents about the best place to take her, I made an appointment at a tattoo parlor. Before you pass judgment, tattoo parlors are incredibly sterile and they use needles rather than guns, which make a very accurate and straight hole. I should know. I have three piercings on one ear and one on the other (it was the 90s, people; this was called rebellion) all of which were done with guns. Two of the four holes are fine but the first ones, the ones I had done at the mall when I turned 12, the ones pierced by a teenager with an earring gun, those are slanted. Consequently, I had no small amount of trouble with those piercings in the early days.
But this isn't about getting my daughter's ears pierced. We did it and the two women who stood in tandem on either side of her with crazy sharp needles did an amazing job. They were exact, sterile, and thorough in their explanation of how to keep the puncture wounds clean. (They were also heavily tatted and pierced, but they were also super nice.) No, this is about parenting during one of those days.
Fifi (my daughter's nickname) has been very diligent about ear care. We clean them every night before bed with sterile saline and I check for redness. They look great and she hasn't had any problems.
Enter my son.
He's seven and impish. He doesn't mean to cause trouble, but he's a walking basket of chaos. The kids were outside playing on my next door neighbor's lawn with some friends. Two of the girls were jumping on each other's backs and wrestling. One girl got her nose bonked and was in tears for a few minutes. Another mom was standing nearby while I pulled weeds from my front flower bed. Then I heard a panicked, rhythmic screaming and my name. It was Fifi. She was clutching her left ear and crying with a wild look in her eyes. Her brother had jumped on her back and grabbed her ears to hold on. She thought he had ripped the earring through her lobe. Where the hell was my husband?
Fun fact: I faint when I see blood.
I took Fi inside and sat her down. I washed my hands and grabbed a paper towel. Neither of us wanted to look at her ear. Mr. T (my son) came inside looking sheepish. I knew he didn't mean to hurt her and I really couldn't deal with punishing him while she hyperventilated and clutched at me. I had to calm her down and then see what we could do.
Since Fi didn't want me to leave her, I put Mr. T to work.
"Get me an ice pack!"
He returned with a freezer pack that you put in ice chests.
"Maybe something smaller?"
This time, he found a smaller pack and swiftly left the room, scared.
"T, can you get me some tissues for your sister?"
I saw a hand reach around the corner with a wad of tissues.
"You're going to need to bring them to me. Enter the room, buddy. She's okay, but I can't leave her."
I could tell he felt miserable.
"I think I'll just give myself a time-out," he suggested.
"That's fine. Are you going to your room?"
"No, I think I'll just sit on the couch."
Meanwhile, Fifi was taking deeper breaths. She couldn't tell me if her ear hurt. I called my husband. He was 10 minutes away, stuck in traffic (did I mention a water main burst near our house and we're on a boil water alert? So, traffic was backed up all over the neighborhood because the streets were closed. Yeah, I told you, one of those days).
I peeked at the back of Fi's ear. No blood. I looked closely at the paper towel. No blood. We decided to hold the ice pack against her ear a little longer because if there was blood, a passed-out mommy was not going to be of any use.
And this is how my husband found us: on the floor, holding ice and paper towels to my daughter's completely intact, not-even-a-little-bit-bloody ear while her brother sat quietly on the couch in self-imposed time-out.
The bad news is: we lost her earring.
The other bad news is: the tattoo place had already closed for the night.
So, I sterilized a silver post earring in alcohol, cleaned her ear with sterile saline, sprayed on Neosporin, plonked the earring in and twisted on the back.
It looked good as of this morning and I'm still awaiting a call back from the tattoo place. I left two very panicky messages last night.
At bedtime, I talked to my son.
"You know you can't jump on your sister anymore."
"Yeah, but you may need to remind me. I have some paper right over there. You should write it down."
"I think you'll remember, bud."
And then we found a tick on my puppy.
More from living